No matter how with-it we think we are, there’s no question that aging has effects on our bodies and our minds.
Cognitively, we’re not as sharp as we were when we were younger. That’s just a fact. It may take more time to process information, our memories lag a bit and in general, learning can be more difficult with the older brain. Our response and reaction times can also be slower.
I know plenty of 60-something people who are sharp as a tack, fit and trim–but that doesn’t make them immune to things like missing a stair when going up or down, tripping over something they didn’t see on the sidewalk or any number of accidents that are more common among older adults.
Let’s not be in denial. This stuff happens. We all have friends to whom it’s happened and some of us have personal experience.
Some aging hacks are needed and I’ve got a few. In fact, these are really life hacks, because they apply to any age group. But even more so to seniors.
Watch your step.
When I walk my dog I am conscious of every step I take. The earth moves in California and sidewalks move, too. They’re infamously uneven and it’s easy to trip and fall. I’ve done it. So now, I watch my step. Every step. I don’t want to be one of those 60-somethings having leg surgery or worse. Prevention is key.
Get the best car safety features you can afford. And a free safety tip.
It’s easier than ever to get distracted in a car because there really is a lot going on and our cognitive functioning has likely changed. At least for most of us. One big problem in cars is not seeing a vehicle in our blind spot. For the past long time, I turn my head before i change lanes so I can actually see who is creeping up on me. And boy, have I been surprised! It’s an easy thing–and free– and anyone can do it. Turn your head and LOOK.
Our new car has a blind spot indicator and it’s a good thing; M has had some pretty close calls by not turning his head. In fact, today’s vehicles have a fantastic selection of safety features and we try to get them all if we can. Next time you buy a car, get as many as you can afford.
Wear a mask.
On a plane the other month the young man sitting next to me gave me the side eye. “Why the mask?” he asked, clearly in fear of catching some dread disease from me.
“Because people are coughing and hacking all over this plane and I don’t want to get sick,” I told him. “I got bronchitis after a flight to Sicily one year and it ruined my trip. I don’t want that to happen again.”
“My wife should do that,” he said. “She always gets sick on planes.”
“You should get her a mask,” I suggested.
“Oh, she’s got too much pride to wear one,” he said.
Seriously? She’d rather get sick than wear a mask?
I’ve got a pretty good immune system, but it’s not good enough to deal with the kind of hacking and coughing that goes on in those closed cylinders I fly everywhere. Wearing a mask when I fly is a way I minimize my risk. Many older folk don’t have great immunity so this is something easy they can do to try to prevent exposure to illness. That, and washing hands compulsively.
Walk into Stanford Hospital and there’s a mask station right inside the front door. I didn’t take one the other day and ended up in a bathroom with a woman who has coughing her brains out. I held my breath as long as I could.
Wear a mask.
I know you’ve got some aging hacks, yourself, to share. I hope you will, in the comments. Because we’re all in this together, right?